We did some extra learning with Angy this week, she having been at some instructor training herself. She talked us through some horse behaviour approaches, sometimes know as horse whispering. She explained that when horses are in a natural herd, the boss horse doesn’t lead from the front but from a position by the shoulder of a horse that he wants to keep in line.
And the boss horse also insists on his personal, dominant space, so if another horse turns their head towards the boss, then the boss will nudge that horse in the area of his neck and withers to push him out of the bosses space.
So what does this mean for us at the RDA? Well we have a pony (who must not be named!) who is quite confident and does have a tendency to reach back and nibble when given half a chance. So the theory is this. The helper who is leading the pony starts behaving as the boss horse. They stand a little further back at the shoulder, needing a longer lead rein obviously, and if the pony’s head comes around, a gentle push out of the helper’s (boss’s) space corrects him. (This can be slightly tricky if the leader has a side walker behind as there is limited space but we worked it out and only tripped a little once!).
So we tried it out (as we do!) and with a leader and 2 side walkers – we worked superbly together – we thought we had about 70% noticeable change in behaviour, and no-one got nibbled by the pony who must not be named!
Sensational new learning and sense of achievement at the RDA as ever.